Europe's New Mafias | People & Power


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Published: 5 years ago
No one paid the two men much attention as they approached the bank. It was around three in the afternoon in a small French town and customers had been coming and going to the cash machine all day. If anyone spared the two a thought, they would probably have assumed they were - just like anyone else - about to withdraw some money.

But then, as the men huddled together around the ATM - incidentally making it difficult for passers-by to see what they were doing - one of them opened his jacket and pulled out a rectangular steel panel. He swiftly pressed it into place over the cash machine’s keyboard (that it fitted perfectly was no accident), and then they walked away.

A few moments later another customer approached the machine, slid his bank card into the slot as usual, entered his account details via the keyboard and withdrew some cash; as did several other people over the next few hours. What none of them realised, of course, was that the keypad they were using was actually a fake, which while it allowed them to take money from their accounts as normal, also recorded their PIN numbers.

It was not until later that evening that a customer noticed something was wrong. One of the two men, who had been watching from a safe distance, came up quickly and offered to help. But the customer left to phone the police. As soon as his back was turned, the two men moved in to dismantled the fake keyboard as rapidly as they has installed it and then left once more.

As it turned out, the two men involved in this particular episode had not been as unobserved as they thought, because a hidden CCTV surveillance camera was recording their every move.

When examined by the police later on, the footage would be added to a pile of evidence they were accumulating to prosecute a group of people involved in the systematic and industrial scale theft of PIN numbers and bank account details - details that were being used to clone fake bank cards and strip accounts of millions of Euros.

What came as no surprise to the police was that the two men were from Eastern Europe. These days many of their suspects are. Though this was just one small incident, it was actually part of a much wider trend of organised crime emanating from gangs in Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere, which over the last decade has been giving law enforcement an increasingly serious headache.

These new mafias have their fingerprints on all sorts of criminal activity - from bank card fraud, robberies and extortion to prostitution, arms dealing and money laundering - with most of the proceeds destined for the crime bosses back east. The problem for police in countries such as France, Germany and the UK is that while they might be able to catch and put away some of the gangs' small -time foot soldiers, it is much more difficult to go after the powerful godfathers in Moscow or Kiev or Tbilisi.

So what is behind this spread of mafia-style criminal activity from East to West? Who are the bosses and godfathers pulling the strings? And how exactly do they operate?

French filmmakers Jerome Pierrat and Barbara Conforti went behind the scenes to find out. They meet police and investigators, gangsters and crime bosses in Georgia, Romania, and the Ukraine, including some of the infamous vory v’zakone’ (which translates to: 'thieves in law’) - a loose association of organised criminals that originated in the gulags or labour camps of the Soviet era.

In Georgia they hear how the authorities, increasingly alarmed at the power and influence of the vory in everyday life, managed to take them on and force them out. One of the reasons why Eastern European crime has spread to the West is because of increasingly difficult operating conditions at home.

In Craiova, Romania, where the local mafia has made good use of the skills of the country’s unemployed IT technicians to develop sophisticated methods for cloning bank cards, they meet the gang lord who fell out with his fellow godfathers when he killed one of them during a poker game.

The film gives a fascinating glimpse into an ever-changing criminal underworld, with its own strange rules, in which people who lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, extort and kill for a living, still subscribe to their own perverse honour code.

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comment  Comments

Giaccomo figures in an escher world - beautifully made!! 👌👏👍

7 hours ago

Now if only they could go after the new world order governments that are global gangsters and commit war, or the threat of it, for profit at the expense of the innocent people.

12 hours ago

And when we finally catch them in the EU, then the punishment is so small, so the criminals laugh at us, in Denmark the criminals call it a hotel stay, they must have at least 20 years of prison before they stop, today they only get 2 -6 month prison, or a small fine, and they are going in the next day, they only catch 1 in 100 criminals, just to laugh.

1 day ago

Meanwhile I'm here just finding words in common between Albanian and Romanian .
I'm sorry to see their country ravaged by poverty even though they produce great IT's .
All of Eastern Europe and Balkans is far behind Eu, Us or even South Asia .
Something must change . I believe Greeks , Romanians and Albanians (natives populations) could change the face of the Balkans if they remove Russian influence here .

2 days ago

Oooh, I like the Georgian Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. I love a woman in power.

2 days ago

Leave the borders open. What can go wrong?

3 days ago

Mafia lol, no, its just organised crime.

3 days ago

GAY 6:52

3 days ago

These mafia don's are moving out of Europe now as they can't compete with The Brussels Mafia

3 days ago

I met a Georgian once, one of the best people I ever met.
He kept proving it over and over again.

3 days ago

Shame the Romanian government and police for ignoring this. Communist atheism destroyed their conscience.

4 days ago

Bolsheviks gained control of US Inc.

4 days ago

What's hard to believe with this documentary is that law enforcement has become useless...

If it worked as it's supposed to, crime like this would not take hold... 😏

4 days ago

What's with the deficient volume in so many YouTube videos‼️❓

Thankfully some video makers get it right, but NOT this channel...

Perfection IS too loud 🔊 so "I" can use my volume control...

4 days ago

That's nothing compared to Sunni's terrorism.

4 days ago

Open borders means allowing criminal scum like this into your country.

5 days ago

Many dirtbags in Romania.

5 days ago

keep them out of Europe they are a parasite a drain on society

5 days ago

It is interesting that young gangsters around the world base their look and attitude on young African- American gangsters

6 days ago

not in asia

5 days ago

This is what the EU has done ..opened up Europe to crime. Every Country in Europe needs to take back control of it's laws and borders, having nothing to do with the EU.

6 days ago

Borderless EU allows for free flow of these vagabond gangs; it's the perfect predator-prey environment.

6 days ago

Criminals know no borders mate! City of London is full of criminals and if has been like this for a long time. Majority of the money that makes the city is from the criminals including the big business too big to fail.

3 days ago

Restricting free movement will stop them from hopping around Europe. It is time for European countries to regain their national sovereignty and stop the mafia and other organised gangs from capitalising on the freedom of movement. People warned what would occur when Europe allowed some countries into the fold. As ever it was ignored. Normal people pay the price as ever.

6 days ago

Wow i never thought there could actually be bigger ramifications to immigration " cough cough" Sarcasm sarcasm

6 days ago

@22:24 when the left eye rolls into his mind while the right eye remains a certain focus? Now you know when you are dealing with a 'beast.' It cannot be duplicated on a regular basis. As if to send a message that you are insane. One may call this a 'demon'.  From my experience, it simply is a characteristic of those that are...well, you be the judge.

6 days ago

50 Cent or those wanksta's wouldn't be able to survive for one day with anyone of these true gangstas.

1 week ago

Europe is in a mess gang tries to eliminate another gang less trouble for police ,its about time governments take control of drugs to stop crime ,and when governments sell there will be less killing

1 week ago

+Lorry Camill in tourist island in my country only 5 ,000 - 6,000 people and 18 murders

2 days ago

+Lorry Camill haha only 15 and they keep it a secret? that is very low... it does not matter if malta keep it secret or not tourists will still come even though 15 got killed.... 15 killed is very low... same in my country they hide and keep crime secret for tourists.

4 days ago

In Malta less then a million people there was about 15 killing in a year and they were tough guys that got shot ,they keep it secret because of tourist and buisiness

4 days ago

you know European countries has one of the lowest murder rates in the world, only lithuania, russia and latvia has high murder rates in Europe the rest have around 1 in murder rate = really low

5 days ago

These people can’t trust one another ,one gang try to destroy the other to take over each other s wealth ,dog eats dogs that’s how they finish ,once you get money get out of it and invest the proper way that’s my advice

1 week ago

Wow. These criminal's have Free Will. Just like I do. If I don't learn from instruction I will learn from the consequences of my actions, Wether they be good or bad. Apparently these people decided somewhere in there life to become an enemy of God or, A pleaser of God. I have Free Wiil. This is the way God the Father made us all with a conscience in the beginning. "To Him That Knows To Do Good, And Does Not Do It, To Him It Is Sin." ( James 4:17). I have known Christ for 42 years now. I accepted Christ into my heart on July 4th 1976. It was America's 200th birthday. I was not even aware of the date or the day until I have gone thru one of the most emotional times of my whole life. I guess you could say that I humbly realized that Jesus Christ was fully God. When I think about what Christ did for me just for a mere second, My eyes grasp to hold back the strong tears to this very moment. If someone could love me this much, How can I not obey his calling on my soul? "So, What Shall It Profit A Man If He Gains The Whole World And Loses His Very Soul." ( Matthew 16:26). Is anything worth more than your soul? As I look at these men, I can;t help but understand For There but the Grace Of God There Go I. Christ offers his faith to me and promises me that his Grace is sufficient. "And He Said Unto Me, My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee: For My Strength Is Made Perfect In Weakness. Most Gladly Therefore Will I Rather Glory In My Infirmities, That The Power Of Christ May Rest Upon Me." (2nd Corinthians 12:9). I guess the thing I really don't understand is when you die without Christ in your life, Why would a sober person in their right mind and with your Sins forgiven because of his grace. Why on Gods earth would you sell your soul to the Devil? I spent most of this day giving away clothes that I love that no longer fit me anymore. I gave away anything and every thing I no longer use, Such as shoes, Wind breaker, T-Shirts, Pullovers. Many boxes of nice books and much more. Are you thinking it was easy because I am rich? You would be very wrong. So why bring this up? Please make sure that you do not miss this part. I was born in a normal family but, My father was a hard core Alcoholic. I was not born rich at all. Every attempt to claim large amounts of money were keep from me either buy circumstances or buy someone stealing something I found that was worth a lot of money. I would find out that following Christ came with a very heavy price. Why would I just pick today to give everything I really don't need anymore away? Because just when you get to a place in your Christian walk you realize that if you do not help "The Lest Of These" people, You might not get into heaven at all? The "Lest Of These" refers to those in a variety of needy situations. They include Hungry people, Thirty people, Impoverished people, Sick People and Imprisoned people. This reference is to the righteous helping fellow disciples. Jesus said that those who cared for such individuals were not merely serving other people. They were serving him. (Matthew 25:31-46). I am praying for these people that steal and scam and hack other people. May God have mercy on your souls. Amen.

1 week ago

Fake news

1 week ago

Sounds like a Robinhood vs the Sheriff story....the mafia vs mankind's most dangerous mafia-the government. Similar to Columbia's drug story where the dealers built the schools and hospitals and were protected by the people.

1 week ago